Interview: Django Django

Alex Yau chats to Django Django

Posted on Feb 6th, 2012 in Features and Interviews, Django Django / By Alex Yau
Django Django Edinburgh originated four-piece Django Django made themselves known three years ago with the wonderful tracks ‘Storm’ and ‘Love’s Dart.’ They disappeared after that but it all proved to be worth it as their wonderful self-titled debut proves. “It’s quite a relief. It’s been a while and a lot of that has been down to learning what we’re doing,” says Tommy Grace, the band’s synth man. “It was all new to us, especially David [Maclean] who’s been trying to get to grips with how to produce the Cubase programs and us learning to play instruments.” This three year gap marks a huge sigh of relief and accomplishment for Tommy. He says: “I’m really chuffed. The CD’s great and it’s nice to have something physical to hold. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Whilst most bands lock themselves away in a rehearsal space for months on end trying to refine their sound, Django Django developed theirs by going straight into the deep end. “It’s not been a linear progression. A lot of the songs we had took a stripped back format. Through gigging, and the way the crowd responded, we went back and reworked,” says Tommy. Throughout this time, the band also focused on the visual, as well as the musical aspect. Tommy says: “It’s been a weird evolution and we have felt very busy this whole time. It’s not just the music. We put a whole lot of time and effort into the design work. It’s been a tough couple of years.”

This wouldn’t have been possible without David Maclean, the band’s drummer, producer and all round leader. Maclean would often spend evenings in isolation crafting the band’s music or “alchemy” as Tommy describes it. “Dave will stay up in the studio and we’ll come back in the morning. We’ll listen to what he’s been doing and we’ll be like ‘Wow, shit.’” Whilst this method might spark tensions in certain bands, Tommy and the other band mates are fully open to Maclean’s ideas. “When it comes to decisions on music, we can adjust and Dave’s really savvy. He’s got a great ear, and there’ll be grumbles, but we’ll respect his decisions. He really knows what he’s doing and it’s great to have a captain of a ship. He goes down with it though.”

Speaking about Maclean’s unorthodox recording methods, Tommy says: When we were at art college, Dave would Sellotape records together to create loops.” Such methods come out of spontaneity and Django Django’s writing process is never regimented. “We kind of do what seems right and we’ve never paid that much attention to the proper way things should be done. I think that can be quite sticky and impede you.”

Visually, the band is vividly striking. Their videos for ‘Waveforms’ and ‘Default’ have certainly been two of the more interesting modern videos. Speaking about ‘Waveforms’ Tommy says: “On ‘Waveforms’ we worked with an artist called Kim Coleman. When Dave and I graduated from art college we ran this arts space with five other friends and Kim was one of them. She’s been doing some with us live and seemed really appropriate for ‘Waveforms.’ She does great work with lights and mirrors and she was appropriate because the song has a real club atmosphere. It was nice to work with people you’re comfortable with and genuinely collaborate in a way that’s not forced or difficult.”

‘Default’s video involved a kaleidoscopic array of prints featuring the band’s heads. Tommy explains: “We had stills and painted over them. It really suits the song and a lot of people were unsure when we told them the idea. They thought we lost our minds.”

The band embarks on their upcoming tour soon and like their videos, each show is accompanied by striking artwork, the band wearing quirky costumes at each gig. Tommy says: “I’ve toured enough to play comfortably. To be honest, it’s only at later gigs where we’ve been promoting singles that the crowd have known a couple of songs. It’s a great feeling when they’re into it and it feeds back to us. Maybe we’ll work on fun costumes for the shows. It’ll all be good.”

Django Django is out now and you can catch the band at the following dates:

17 Feb 12 – Norwich Arts Centre Norwich UK
19 Feb 12 – Stereo Glasgow UK
20 Feb 12 – Deaf Institute Manchester UK
21 Feb 12 – Shipping Forecast Liverpool UK
23 Feb 12 – Crawdaddy Dublin IR
24 Feb 12 – Bodega Nottingham UK
25 Feb 12 – Cooler Bristol UK
27 Feb 12 – XOYO London UK